It’s In Gase We Trust Or Bust Time… Again!
Offense this bad isn’t just about lack of talent
The 2017 Season has been a whipsaw of extenuating circumstances, unexpectedly poor offensive play, and surprise rebounds.
As far as the ridiculous drama goes, it’s created extra adversity that has had a negative effect on the team from personnel, to staff, to focus. Beginning with Laremy Tunsil’s mysterious personal issues that forced him to miss much of camp and Preseason, a season changing storm, to a crack-head, high-priced position coach, to now all the talk of Suh‘s strangle and Kiko’s knockout: Outside factors have been incessant.
Not one opposing team is crying for the Fin’s hardships, and no excuse will gain them an inch on the field.
So a winning mentality would be suck it up with as smile.
We all know the deal by now, everything wrong internal and external came to a head against the Ravens in a very, very ugly way.
But now, with the blowout in Baltimore in the books, and just over a week before a big home game verse a tough opponent in the Raiders, Adam Gase has a chance to stop, assess, and hopefully fix one of the worst offenses witnessed in Miami in a long time.
The key word is hope.
This is what Gase was brought here to do. And this is likely the last chance he’ll get this season, given every week from now on will be a game-prep week without time, for true reflection.
Gase: 2017 sinks or swims over the next 2 weeks based on his acumen
So with one shot to hit the mark, is this team doomed and Gase destined for the ‘hotseat’? Or can Gase figure out the right combination of players, scheme, and play calls to unlock this offenses potential and rebound like he did in 2016?
No one will know for sure until next Sunday, but what Gase does starting Wednesday, when they begin to prepare, will give us some hints.
Personally, after studying film rabidly for weeks now, I say there’s a fair chance they get this “O” in gear. Much of the issues relating to the offenses failure has been X’s and O’s and issues on the mental side of the game… not a lack of talent to get it done. Although, it doesn’t take pay per head software to figure out more talent in the future would be groovy too.
But it’s put up or shut time in a big, big way.
Unfortunately, some of the aspects that must change aren’t within Gase’s power to fix. Some of these crucial aspects must come from a few key players making the decision to be professionals and make the plays they are paid handsomely to make.
Gase has stated in his most recent rant on the terrible state of the offense that some of the players are making mistakes because they aren’t studying the playbook at home, and instead using the team meeting as their primary source of study.
If this is true, whoever they are should be let loose in the Offseason, unless serious change is made on their part. At this stage of the team build, this behavior is unacceptable. This isn’t even remotely the level of work ethic you want on your team.
Coaching sets the table, so far the table has been a mess
As for those who are studying but still screwing up, they must have their roles reduced, whoever they are. Understandably, Gase is working with a limited pool of talent in some areas, so this is a very difficult tight-wire act on his part.
Now, since I’m blowing all this smoke about 2017 not being doomed for certain, and it’s not all about talent, what went / is wrong with this Offense then? Besides a critique about Gase’s scheme choices, here you go:
1: Offense is often put in a hole by the return teams. In 2016, Special Team Return Units were an asset. In 2017, returns have been a detriment. Grant and the blocking in the return game are terrible. Grant still bobbles the ball and spends too much time running lateral and making poor return decisions. Grant isn’t popping any, so kneeing in the End Zone and starting on the 25 instead of the 15 would be a great start towards fixing the Offense. Next step after replacing the blockers might be replacing Grant’s
2: Offensive Line gets a lot of grief, and it should. But it’s the Tackles, and not the interior OL, has carried the lion’s share of the problems. Tunsil seems down throttled and is getting beat outside and inside. From the start of the season and his ‘personal issues’, he has had a very rocky start for someone so much was expected. So far, he’s been an anchor alright, one that’s wrapped around the offenses neck, dragging them down with penalties and inconsistent play. At least for this game you can add an “**” to his play due to his knee injury. James on the other hand has shown for two years now, he has a very hard time handling rushers with high-end, bull-rush skills. He gets victimized a few times a game. Given both T’s level of responsibilities and pedigree, they are outpacing the interior OL in number of plays that fail the offense.
OL is the most crucial unit on the offense
On the interior, Anthony Steen could be done for the season with a 5 hour foot surgery. I like Jesse Davis, and he acquitted himself well with a PFF grade of 80.2 allowing only 1 pressure Thursday. But even when Ted Larsen returns they are now thin at Guard. But maybe a Larsen and Davis combo might be an upgrade.
Mike Pouncey can’t handle strength. Gase needs to say it slow and own it. So asking him to go one-on-one with power players is asking for trouble. They must scheme their runs better with this in mid. Pouncey is still a Top 3 Center in pass block, bottom of the league in run block. Either scheme better, or move to a more pass oriented style. Gase needs to stop throwing downs away.
3: Speaking of Gase, he loves to run from WR Bunches and 3 Wides, but Stills, Landry, Grant, and so far Carroo can’t block. Landry had several critical flops at his blocking assignments this week that cost the offense… one cost big time. Also, Gase has 3 TE’s and only one can block well. Gase has to deal in the reality of this and plan accordingly.
Thomas had buyer beware all over his purchase, but Gase still paid
4: Julius Thomas is all but a complete waste of 6 million. Gase fully owns this, and no matter how much he force feeds Thomas, he’ll still suck. The more Thomas is jammed into this offense, the more damage he does. He can’t block and nearly every catch he makes it’s an open / routine play. So what the hell is he really contributing compared to his screw ups? Also, he can’t move on the run, has zero wiggle, and is slow. Fasano must be the starter going forward with even less snap for Thomas in coming games.
Miami needs another TE, even if he can just block adequately it would be an upgrade. They either need to pull one from a hat, or they will struggle all year in 3 TE sets, which has showed promise. And in a worst case scenario, it would be disaster if Anthony Fasano should get hurt. Dion Sims was guaranteed 4 million more, and so far, this season he has less than half the targets of Thomas with 50 yards less, 1 more TD, and is able to block petty well. Imagine the possibilities with him and Fasano with Gray.
5: Gase must understand his players strengths and weaknesses. This Offensive Line can be productive enough with the talented skills the Fins have. But no matter how much you want them to, or keep making the calls, they won’t consistently beat loaded boxes, especially with shaky TE and WR run blocking, and shaky RB pass blocking to pick up the blitz (4 of 16 sacks come from RB’s screwing up). Something has to give somewhere. I’d say a read through of the Art of War would be great move for Gase in his spare time.
6: Gase again, when a play fails over and over, game after game, Gase needs to shelve / limit it, and certainly not call it in crucial situations (I.E. screens to Landry, 10 Inside Draws a game, Zone Stretch to the short side of the field with a “D” shifted and playing wide, ect).
7: The Dolphins Receivers are struggling to get open, for whatever reason. Jarvis Landry is one of my favorite players, but it’s looking more and more like he’s a pretty good boundary WR, and only special in the slot. He doesn’t appear as focused and consistent as prior years. DeVante Parker has all the talent in the world, but again this season, his great consistency is that he’s injured and inconsistent in his production. Stills can’t block, but has contributed roughly close to his pay. Carroo made some advances and Grant doesn’t flash. Less one read options and better route combinations might be in order.
8: Gase said this as well: Jay Ajayi seems to be trying to hit the home run alittle too often. In his defense, the guy is facing stacked boxes with the deck stacked of poor calls and a group of blockers not suited for beating a defense into submission. But over time chipping away might prove to offer a few yards here or there that leads to an easier 1st down and a trickle effect may take over. Maybe.
This was a long one, but I’d rather be explicit and called wrong, than labeled a fanatic spouting from too much aqua flavored Kool Aid. The next article will break down every negative play of the 1st half of the Ravens game to support the points above. Over engineering? Maybe, but you can’t fault my lack of trying. Go Fins!!!